Good health is the basic requirement for a person to succeed in any field of the world. Barring exceptions, only a physically as well as mentally fit person can do the hard work necessary for achieving success. The busy urban life style leaves little time for people to have a regular healthy life with regards to proper meals and sleep time and exercise. Persons working in offices are worst affected as they have to stick to a fixed schedule of work. Commuting long distances to work in big cities and having targets and deadlines to meet puts them under stress, affecting their health further.

Hence it is vital for a person to be able to monitor his or her health. This is simple. Only thing needed is that one should be aware of some tell tale signs that indicate health problems.

Feeling, ‘run down”, or, “not so well”, is what everyone feels when sick. Headaches, body ache, running nose, nausea, vomiting, e.t.c., symptoms also suggest sickness. But apart from these, there are subtle signs which can help one detect sickness at the earliest.

One should always keep track of his pulse. It is felt on keeping a finger lightly below the thumb at the junction of the wrist and forearm. Normally there are 60 to 90 beats felt per minute, when one is relaxed. If the pulse beats faster than this, either the person is stressed or is sick. It usually heralds the onset of fever also. While in front of a mirror, one can check the color of the inner side of the lower eye lid. If the color is pale and not red, it denotes anemia, i.e. a state of deficiency of hemoglobin,( a component of red blood cells that carries oxygen to body cells). This is more important for women as they are more prone to anemia for multiple reasons. Yellow discoloration of the normally white portion of the eye is suggestive of deranged function of the liver.

If there is a urinary tract infection, one can develop swelling over the face, more so in the morning. In kidney and urinary tract infections, the affected person can also have swelling on the feet. But if an individual starts getting swelling over feet coming in the evening or after walking, he should get himself screened for high blood pressure and heart related problems.

Regular monitoring of weight also helps to determine the health status of a person. Gain in weight should alert the person to keep it under control. Unexplained loss of weight is highly suggestive of diabetes mellitus or hyperthyroidism. If the weight loss is associated with persistent intractable pain in some body part, cancer is a strong possibility.

Another thing which one can monitor is the color of urine. The urine of a healthy person is clear or mildly pale in color. A dark colored urine indicates that hydration of the body is affected. This happens due to hydration of the body being affected which mostly occurs due to much work with or without stress and or drinking less water. Once somebody notices dark colored urine, he should increase the amount of water and other fluids consumed. Due to deranged liver function, one can have dark yellow colored urine.

Just by being aware of these subtle changes in the body, earliest signs of any sickness can be detected and it can be checked before anyone falls sick.

The author is a specialist in Internal Medicine at the
Ruhengeri Hospital Musanze


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